Palm Beach Dining: Shula Burger

July 10, 2013

Shula Burger @ Delray Marketplace
14917 Lyons Road, Suite 114
Delray Beach, FL 33446
(561)404-1347

Web Site: http://www.shulaburger.com

Twitter: @shulaburger

In the last three years, I’ve been to a lot of soft openings and press events for various quick serve restaurants that are burger-themed. But since I’ve moved to South Florida I hadn’t yet attended one of these.

Shula Burger is new QSR concept restaurant chain owned by Shula’s, the restaurant group founded by legendary Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Colts football coach Don Shula.

The Delray Marketplace store, which is located in a brand-new upscale and entertainment-oriented shopping plaza, marks the fifth location of Shula Burger, all of which are located in Florida. There will soon be a sixth opening near Orlando.

Frankly, there isn’t that much new ground you can cover in burgers. And there are so many burger places in South Florida that it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.  So the bottom line is, are the burgers good, and are they good value?

Is Shula Burger a champion, or a chump? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Miami Dining: El Mago De Las Fritas

July 8, 2013

El Mago De Las Fritas
5828 SW 8th Street, Miami FL
Phone:(305) 266-8486

Web Site: http://www.elmagodelasfritas.com

Twitter: @magodelasfritas

Since moving to Florida I’ve started to acclimate myself with the other local food bloggers. By far, the most serious blogger (and food truck fair organizer) in Miami has to be Sef Gonzalez, also known as “The Burger Beast.”

As his name suggests, he’s big on burgers and all kinds of casual dining kinds of stuff. I first learned about him when watching George Motz’s Burger Land show on The Travel Channel, where he was featured in an episode about hamburgers and food trucks in Miami.

Miami of course is known for a specific type of hamburger, the Cuban “Frita”. I’ve written about Fritas before, specifically El Rey De Las Fritas, which is probably the most well-known establishment serving this particular style of burger.

Lesser known is El Mago De Las Fritas (Burger Beast post), which is owned by another member of the same family. It only has one location, and a much more limited menu than El Rey. But it has its adherents and now that I have been there, I understand the allure of the place.

For the last couple of weeks Sef and I had been planning to hook up and to talk about stuff we could do together. He suggested we have breakfast on a Saturday at El Mago. Fritas for breakfast? Okay then.

The magic awaits at El Mago De Las Fritas on Miami’s Calle Ocho. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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The Sous Vide Cheeseburger Project

July 5, 2013

So, as many of you know, I was the co-Founder of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters.

In the last 10 years, the phenomenon of Sous Vide, or thermostatically controlled water bath cooking, has caught on like wildfire, much of it due to the popularity of a massive set of discussions on eGullet about it.

Despite this massive amount of discussion about Sous Vide, I had no interest in the subject for the longest time.

In fact, I felt it was so geeky and so elitist and pretentious that the only way I was really interested in enjoying food cooked using this method was in fine restaurants, which could afford the expensive thermostatically controlled water circulators ($1000+) and had the need to utilize it for large-scale cooking efforts, for which the technique and the technology was originally designed.

But as with any technology, price does come down. And in the 10 years since the original eGullet threads started, microprocessor-controlled Sous Vide cooking systems have dropped down in price dramatically.

How cheap? How about $99 for the Dorkfood Sous Vide controller now sold on Amazon, combined with a cheap hot plate/cheap rice cooker or an electric crockpot and a package of Zip-Lok bags?

I was sent the Dorkfood controller to review by the manufacturer — I’ll have a more technical write up on ZDNet about it shortly.

But let’s get to the meat of the matter: Anyone with the willingness to do so can now cook Sous Vide, with minimal skill, budget and debugging required.

First of all, why would you want to Sous Vide anything? Well, the advantage is that you can cook a vegetable or a protein to its finished cooking temperature. Once it reaches that temperature, it is perfectly cooked. Because you are cooking it in a sealed bag in a water bath controlled by a computer, you have no loss of juices and the meat does not dry out.

The flavors using this process are absolutely intensified because you are cooking the meat in its own juices.

While Sous Vide is often used for extremely expensive cuts of beef, fish, seafood and poultry to cook right “on point” like the guys on Top Chef do, you can also use it to make the juiciest rare cheeseburger known to man.

And if that isn’t worth forgiving me for using a fancy French technique on the 4th of July to cook an All-American Cheeseburger, I don’t know what is.

You want to make one of these? Follow my lead, young Sous Vide padawans. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Florida Dining: Jersey Dawg

June 11, 2013

Jersey Dawg Food Truck
(305) 582-8849

Web Site: http://www.jerseydawg.com

Twitter: @jerseydawg201

Jersey Dawg Food Truck, parked in the Shell Station on the corner of Cypress Creek Road and Powerline in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

I’m frequently asked, “Is there life after Jersey?”

It was almost one year ago that Rachel and I packed up what remained of our belongings and set forth in a Volkswagen to South Florida. We got on the New Jersey Turnpike, and drove until it became I-95.

A week later, we found ourselves in the Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach area. Which we now call home.

I’ve made my choice and I’m very happy with it. The weather is fantastic, I have a lovely home. The food down here is great. I have no complaints.

Well, maybe one or two.

There are certain types of food items that are either difficult or impossible to find in South Florida. You either have to go to great lengths to get them, or they just plain do not exist. And there’s certain things I fully accepted I would never have again, unless I returned home.

Like New Jersey-style hot dogs and sliders.

I mean, you don’t even think such a thing would exist here, so you don’t go looking for it. Sure, we have some really good burger and dog places. We even have a food blogger down here that specializes in it. He’s practically a celeb.

But these are substitutes and not full-blown replacements. The only way you can replicate this kind of food is to have the exact ingredients and to prepare it exactly the same way. By someone who is intimately familiar with such things.

So when I heard about Jersey Dawg, a new food truck that recently started doing Jersey-style hot dogs and sliders, I couldn’t wait. I hadn’t had either one in a year.

Yes, fairy tales can come true. It can happen to you. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more. 

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Seattle Dining: 8oz Burger Bar

May 28, 2013

8oz Burger Bar
1401 Broadway  Seattle, Washington 98122
(206) 466-5989

Web Site: http://8ozburgerbarsea.com

I have often been told that my food phototographs resemble hardcore pornography, and it’s clear that there are primitive, sexual urges at work when I post on this blog.

Guilty. As. Charged.

Frankly, I don’t know any self-described foodies that also aren’t extremely sexual people. The love of food and the love of sex are tightly interconnected things, because they both stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain.

It probably shouldn’t surprise you either that every person that I have met who has been involved in the porn industry in some form or another has been without exception, also a foodie.

And so it came to pass that a few years ago, in the course of my writings for ZDNet, I made the acquaintance of the founders of MiKandi, an independent, Seattle-based app store for Android smartphones and tablets. And I quickly found out these people are also hardcore foodies.

[Did I neglect to mention that MiKandi also specializes in porn applications and content for your Droids? No? Alrighty then.] 

So whenever I’m in Seattle, and I want to find seriously good places to eat, and people to share it with me, the first person I call is Jen McEwan, co-founder of MiKandi.

“You really should check out the 8oz Burger Bar on Capitol Hill.”

I’m thinking, okay, burgers. I mean, I love burgers, but it doesn’t sound particularly exotic or sexual. Not like say, Sushi, or classic French cuisine. But hey, if Jen likes them, they must make one hell of a burger.

Main Dining Room at 8oz Burger Bar in Seattle, Washington.

Indeed, burgers can be sexual. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Florida Dining: El Rey De Las Fritas

May 8, 2013

El Rey De Las Fritas
Multiple locations in Miami

Web Site (Google+)

Twitter: @reydelasfritas

El Rey De Las Fritas has been a Miami favorite of mine ever since I started this blog back in early 2006. The Cuban-style  family owned and operated burger micro-chain (they have 4 locations in the Miami-area) has recently been profiled on George Motz’s Burger Land on the Travel Channel, and business has been a boomin’.

I recently visited the Calle Ocho location, and brought along my iPhone 5 to take some new photos. Here’s a consolidation of all my visits since 2006. Enjoy.

Miami Calle Ocho Storefront, late at night.

Calle Ocho dining room

The Bird Street location of El Rey De Las Fritas. Note that it has a walk up window, where you can get all kinds of empanadas and croquetas, plus cortaditos and cafecitos, Cuban coffee. Forget Starbucks when you are in Little Havana!

Prepare for burgers, Cuban-style. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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NYC Dining: Taste of Prime Tavern (LGA)

September 30, 2012

Taste of Prime Tavern
LaGuardia Airport Terminal D

Web Site: http://www.otgmanagement.com

Since early summer, a lot of you may have been wondering “What the hell happened to Perlow’s posts?”

Well, the Jersey part of Off The Broiler has been run like clockwork by Melody Kettle, who has been updating you on all things delicious in the Garden State.

My wife and I moved to South Florida at the end of June, where I’ve gone into research mode in terms of the local restaurant scene. I’ve also been trying to keep my technology blogging on ZDNet up to regular levels, which has been a challenge in and of itself.

But many of you know I primarily work in technology consulting and I do a lot of travel. Since early August I’ve been commuting back and forth to Brooklyn on a weekly basis.

And that involves spending a lot of time in airports.

Specifically, New York City’s LaGuardia Airport, Terminal D. Which I depart from on Thursday nights to return home to the Fort Lauderdale area.

Terminals C & D are run by Delta, which is my carrier of choice.  I always start at D even if I have flights out of C, because there is a free shuttle bus between the two terminals and the only open SkyClub is currently at D.

So if I have a 2 or more hour wait before my flight, I grab something to eat and then hit the club for drinks.

There are a number of good places to eat in Terminal D, all of which are run by a company called On The Go Management, which owns high-end and creative restaurant concepts in a number of different airports.

One of the things that this company has pioneered is placing seating areas in the terminal gates which have specially-secured iPads where you can browse their menus and have food delivered directly to your seat.

I haven’t tried any of those offerings yet because I prefer a traditional sit-down dining experience away from the gates themselves, but if you’re in a hurry and want something better than pre-wrapped sandwiches from a kiosk, it looks like a good way to go.

The most prominent of the restaurants in Terminal D is A Taste of Prime Tavern, which opened in August of 2010, and  has a menu that was originally formulated by Michael Lomonaco, of Porter House New York in the Time Warner Center in Manhattan.

I’m saying that it’s the most prominent because it is directly behind the main security checkpoint, has the most seating of the other restaurants, the biggest bar area, and has a dramatic window view of the departing aircraft.

In terms of the prices, I think they are pretty reasonable given the overhead that this place has to deal with in being in an airport terminal. If you are expecting it to be a bargain, it isn’t, but I can guarantee you cannot go wrong with practically anything you order here, particularly if you want a place to have a civilized meal for an hour or more.

For the quality of the food you get, the value is definitely there.

The menu items change seasonally depending on what the restaurant can source and what is selling, but here’s a sample menu.

Bar Area/Main Dining Room.

Main dining room, window area

Airport food doesn’t have to suck. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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